World No. 1 Iga Swiatek has described online abuse as something terrible and underlined it needs to stop. Athletes from all sports experience online abuse, especially in tennis, where players regularly receive hateful messages following losses.
In most cases, insults, death threats and abuse come from angry bettors who voice their frustration after losing their money. “Recently I played against Andreea Prisacariu in Poland's Billie Jean King Cup match with Romania and I am aware that she said afterwards she had received bad messages because she lost,” Swiatek wrote in her column for BBC Sport.
“I don't know exactly what happened in this instance but I know hate is there and that it's a serious issue which needs addressing. Many times this is a person who is betting and lost money - this seems to be a 'reason' for some of the abuse - but they should be aware that many of these messages are actually read."
Swiatek: I'm a human being like everyone else
Swiatek revealed she doesn't use her phone that much during tournament but some players are actually reading the messages they receive and it impacts them. Just because someone is a top tennis player doesn't give you the right to go out and send hateful comments, Swiatek says.
“We are human,” Swiatek said. “It is easy to write a message and push publish. But most of the time they wouldn't say it to our faces. I feel like it could be a sign of weakness and maybe it is worth changing perspective and notice that at both sides there are humans.
I'm the kind of person who tries to avoid reading all the stuff sent to me. I don't usually use my phone too much during tournaments. So I'm not reading these kind of bad messages but I know some other players are”.